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Festival of Ages

Jidai-Matsuri
Procession of Ages

Jidai-Matsuri

Jidai-Matsuri

History

About 1,200 years ago, the Emperor Kammu chose picturesque Yamashiro with its beautiful mountains and clean water as the site of "Heian-Kyo," the new capital.
This decision, made on October 22nd in the year 794, was the beginning of Kyoto. In celebration of the 1,100th anniversary of the founding of the capital and in commemoration of the Emperor Kammu, the citizens of Kyoto established the Heian Shrine in 1895.
image image One of the purposes for the founding of the shrine was to leave to posterity a symbol of the great respect the citizens of that time had for the Emperor. Another purpose was to unite the entire city under the "Heian Kosha" organization. As one of the projects of the Heian Kosha, it was decided to annually celebrate October 22nd (the date when the capital was moved to Kyoto) with a grand festival.
The highlight of this festival is a procession of colorful and varied costumes and articles of the nobility as well as commoners, representing various ages during the passage of more than ten centuries.
Thus the name "Festival of Ages." This procession consists of about 2,000 persons and stretches several kilometers in length.
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The costumes and equipment used in this procession are historically accurate, based on thorough research by various experts in their respective fields. For example, the weaving and dyeing of the costumes are carried out in the same manner as were the originals.

ʐ^ At first, there were only six sections in the procession. In 1921, this grew to eight. In 1931 the procession was made even more picturesque and expanded to 10 sections. Suspended in 1944 because of the war, the procession was revived in 1950 with further additions and more pageantry.
The Procession of the Patriots of the Meiji Restoration was added in 1966 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Emperor Komei.

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Program

October 15 1:30 p.m. :
Official declaration of intent to hold the festival.
October 20 :
Preparation of the Imperial Palanquin and other procession artifacts.
October 21 10:00 a.m. :
Preliminary ceremonies on the eve of the festival.

October 22 :
Following a ritual at Heian-jingu Shrine at 8:00 a.m., the palanquin carrying the Heian-jingu Shrine deity embarks for Kyoto Imperial Palace at 9:00 a.m.
imageAnother preparatory ritual takes place before the Kenrei-mon Gate in Kyoto Imperial Park at 10:30.
At noon, the Procession of the Ages moves off from the Gate and heads toward Heian-jingu Shrine.
About 2,000 people take part in the march, which stretches over two kilometres. Around 4:30 p.m., a deity home-coming ritual is held at Heian-jingu Shrine.

October 23 10:00 a.m.:
Jidai Matsuri Closing Rituals

Combined with the historical atmosphere of the city of Kyoto, all of these things make the Jidai Matsuri (Festival of Ages) a truly unique festival.


Route & Arrival time

Kyoto Imperial Palace : 12:00
Karasuma - Marutamachi crossing : 12:30
Karasuma - Oike crossing : 12:50
Kawaramachi - Oike crossing : 13:20
Kawaramachi - Sanjo crossing : 13:25
Sanjo - jingumichi crossing : 14:10
Heian-jingu Shrine : 14:30
(expected arrival time of front of the procession)


Spectator a seating

For maximum enjoyment of the festival, reserve a seat in the special stands set up for the day.
Location of Spectator Seats :
Kyoto Imperial Palace Park, Oike Street, Heian-jingu Street
Seat Reservation:
2,000 yen (Reservations only / an introductory pamphlet included)
Enquiries :
Kyoto City Tourist Association (075-752-0227)

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